"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
I wish that I could say that exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit comes naturally to our family. That we show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control all day long with smiles on our faces.
Unfortunately, that's not the case. We are imperfect, sinful people. Some days, it's much easier to display anything but the fruits. And if we allow habits of ungodliness to take root, that becomes the norm. But since we love God, desire to serve Him faithfully, and teach our children how to live godly lives, we must do our best to exhibit these fruits and make that the norm for our lives. And if you're like our family, that takes practice.
There are many fun ways to incorporate practicing the Fruits in your home, but when I stumbled upon this one over at Smockity, I thought this would be a fun way to encourage Fruit in our home. And not just for the kids...but for Mom and Dad too!
First, I printed this template and wrote all the fruits inside the grapes. Then, I printed it onto colorful paper, put a name on each one, and hung them on the wall in the family room.
Next, we all went over each fruit and made sure that the younger ones knew what each one meant and what it looks like in every day life. For example, when they sit quietly at the table, waiting for their meal, they're showing patience. Or when an older sibling helps a younger one, they're showing kindness. When they sit quietly in church, they're showing self-control, etc.
When a family member sees someone else displaying a fruit, they get a sticker to place over that fruit. And once we fill up all the fruits, we'll do something special as a family.
The kids were very excited about doing this, and it really motivated them to "practice" these fruits. Plus, they had a fun goal to work toward. Everyday, I had kids coming to me and telling me how someone showed a particular fruit. It was wonderful! The kids were encouraging one another...and making a concerted effort to show the fruits throughout the day.
Conversely, when someone was impatient, or not sharing, or speaking unkind words, all I had to ask was, "How can you show a fruit of the spirit in this situation?" And the tone would change. In most cases, a gentle reminder was enough to get back on track. Likewise, we also gave the children permission to respectfully remind us when we were not displaying the fruits. And they did. ;-)
Well, as you can see in the photo above, we've completed all the charts. We gave the kids several choices of family activities and took a vote. It looks like we'll be having "Make-your-own-Sundae Night" with all the fixings soon.
It's amazing how "practicing" the fruits can change the dynamics of your day and keep us focused on Christ. We plan on printing more of these and starting over again. I'll also be looking into other fun ways for our family to practice the fruits.
It's your turn.....and I need more ideas! How do you teach the Fruit of the Spirit to your children. How do you incorporate "practice" into your day? Share here in the comments.